"We played with our hearts," said Eastern Region of Northern Ireland manager Harry McConkey after the 1-0 defeat of Selección Catalana that took his team into a third finals.
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Eastern Region of Northern Ireland have qualified for their third UEFA Regions' Cup finals after beating Selección Catalana 1-0 in the decisive game in Moldova.
Catalonia had been top on goal difference going into the last intermediary round Group 5 game, having beaten Ukraine's Piatykhatska 4-0 and hosts Teleneşti 10-0 to Eastern Region's 4-0 and 5-1. But despite Spain's representatives creating more chances, Richard Thompson's ninth-minute goal was enough for Harry McConkey's determined side, having previously made the finals in 2007 and 2013.
McConkey told UEFA.com: "This is a fantastic victory. We are happy because we won against a strong team. Catalonia played very well, and our guys were nervous. But we showed character, we played with our hearts. This is a big win for our small region. We loved it in Moldova. The organisation was at a high level."
Eastern Region join Germany's Württemberg and Poland's Dolnośląski and five other teams in the finals next June.
UEFA Training Ground made a documentary about Eastern Region's exploits in the 2007 finals in Bulgaria...watch it now.
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